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Regulation

Eurobites: Telco Big Guns Gather to Train Fire on EU Policymakers

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: KPN braces for cuts; eSIM pioneer raises £18 million; Eleven Sports challenges UK soccer taboo.

  • There will be plenty of tub-thumping in Brussels today as European operators gather to discuss how they might influence future EU telecom policy at the annual FT-ETNO Summit. The heavy-hitters that make up the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) -- Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange among them – will be looking for a more "light-touch" approach to regulation from the EU on issues such as network deployment, as well as measures that they believe will create a more level playing field for the provision of digital services. It is these measures that they hope will help give European operators a fighting chance against the US and China in the brave new world of 5G, IoT and AI.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) is bracing itself for further restructuring and cost-cutting. According to Telecompaper, consultancy firm McKinsey has been hired by KPN boss Maximo Ibarra to take a long, hard look at the operator with a view to wielding the knife.

  • UK-based Truphone Ltd. has used a rights issue to secure £18 million (US$23.7 million) in unconditional funding, some which it will use to invest in its embedded (or electronic) SIM (eSIM) technology. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s latest iPhones came with support for eSIM, which effectively "virtualizes" the SIM card experience, opening up to consumers the possibility of changing service providers in an instant. (See Apple: It's the End of the SIM as We Know It.)


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  • Eleven Sports, the OTT sports streaming service, has begun streaming live soccer action from Spain's La Liga on Saturday afternoons in the UK, thereby challenging the UK soccer authorities' ban on broadcasting during this particular time slot. As Broadband TV News reports, the ban was introduced in the 1960s in a bid to encourage fans to keep attending live matches. In August Eleven Sports struck a deal with Facebook that saw the social media giant become the broadcaster's "free-to-air partner" in the UK.

  • Sweden-based Telia Company has completed its acquisition of GET and TDC Norway in a deal worth 21 billion Norwegian kronor ($2.59 billion). In 2017 GET and TDC Norway combined reported revenues of NOK4 billion ($493 million) and EBITDA of NOK1.7 billion ($209 million). (See Eurobites: Telia Bags TDC Norway for $2.59B.)

  • UK startup Bombay Sour is launching a new video streaming platform that will allow subscribers to buy shares in forthcoming content. As the Daily Telegraph reports, the company describes its Zest platform -- which uses blockchain technology -- as a "crowdfunded Netflix."

  • The UK government has introduced a new Code of Practice which it hopes will encourage manufacturers to boost the security of their Internet-connected devices, such as smart watches, smart speakers and toys. The idea is that security will be embedded into the design process of the device, rather than bolted on later as an afterthought. HP and Centrica Hive are the first companies to sign up to the code.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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